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Construction of the 622km Northern Gas Pipeline Kicks Off


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Photo courtesy of iSeekplant.com.au

The Northern Gas Pipeline has begun construction, after the recent sod-turning ceremony. This AUD$800 million project set to deliver gas from central Northern Territory to the north-west of Queensland started design and approvals in 2015.  

 The project, being overseen by Jemena, an energy and water company with AUD$10.5 billion worth of infrastructure already scattered across Australia, will run 622 kilometres of piping from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory to Mt Isa in the Gulf Country region of Queensland. The pipeline will transport 90 terajoules of gas per day over the border state with the capacity to transport up to 700 terajoules dependant on the consistency of supply and limits on hydraulic fracturing in the NT. 

The Northern Gas Pipeline project, scheduled to be completed in 2018, will ease concerns regarding both unemployment in the region and also a lack of gas supply to the eastern border. 

With 33,248 individual lengths of 18.5 metre pipe in storage ready to be installed across the 622-kilometre project, Jemena has created a Small to Medium Enterprise Business Investment Fund to help build local capacity and long-term manufacturing and installation capability in QLD and NT to pitch for work on the Northern Gas Pipeline project. McConnell Dowell, Jemena’s partner for the enormous project, will build 422 kilometres of the pipeline, also taking contracts from local businesses.

As the building of the vast pipeline will offer employment for thousands of both construction and operational employees, Jemena has pledged to employ as many local and indigenous persons as possible. It is expected that the majority of job vacancies will be filled by residents of the NT and Mount Isa region, with employment opportunities available along the length of the pipeline. Colin Saltmere, a traditional landowner and member of the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu people, said the project will hopefully help the community: "A lot of our people are unemployed and there needs to be more done to get our people out of welfare." (ABC)

The project has, however, had some concerns resulting in a delay from scheduled construction in April. The Wakaya Aboriginal Land Trust claimed that they had never reached an agreement on the terms of the project and personally hired a new lawyer to begin fresh negotiations. Jemena then ended its partnership with McConnel Dowell during schedule changes to later bring the business back on board after a new construction date was confirmed.

As the building of the vast pipeline will offer employment for thousands of both construction and operational employees, Jemena has pledged to employ as many local and indigenous persons as possible. 

Ongoing project updates, newsletter, and media releases are being released by Jemena, keeping the surrounding community up-to-date with the progress and milestones of the development. Recent updates include the donation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the Barkly Region State Energy service along with an update on the pipe stringing process. The piping process involves the transportation, stockpiling, and laying of piping in preparation for joining, with over 90 kilometres already laid and ready to be welded.  

 Australia currently has over 37,000 kilometres of high-pressure gas pipeline that transports gas across Australia to major cities and populated areas. The Great Northern Pipeline, an underground line, will connect the existing Amadeus Gas Pipeline at Warrego Compressor Station in the Northern Territory, to the existing Carpentaria Gas pipeline in Queensland.  Natural gas is in abundant supply throughout the nation with enough gas for more than 50 years of average usage, based on existing production. After coal and uranium, natural gas is Australia’s third largest energy resource, accounting for around 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas consumption in 2013 and used in gas-fired generators to provide 22% of Australia’s electricity.

 The Northern Gas Pipeline project, scheduled to be completed in 2018, will ease concerns regarding both unemployment in the region and also a lack of gas supply to the eastern border. Currently the pipeline is only for domestic supply across the eastern coast. However, there has already been , already some talk about the energy resource travelling overseas for further global supply, worrying environmental activists. 

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